January 1, 2011

May 28| Apt to Aix-en-Provence: Fort Buoux

A very defensible site
This day was a great ride, probably the best riding of the trip. In the morning, we chose our route south out of Apt to take us to Fort de Buoux, where we made our first stop. There was some very gradual climbing to start, up to Fort de Buoux.   We also stopped at Abbaye de Silvacaine before reaching Aix-en-Provence late in the day.
Ruin at Fort Buoux
The fortified town was first settled by Ligurians and many relics of that prehistoric society remain. Like Oppède-le-Vieux, the geography of this site offered good protection from attacks. In this case, it took so long to overwhelm the castle, that when he did win it, Louis XIV was furious and ordered it destroyed, in 1660. Today, it is a beautiful walk up to the ruins, where there are many ancient sites and cellar holes. The structures, palpable history and location combined to make me very aware of how many hundreds of years passed when generation after generation of life in the countryside was one of warfare, sometimes intermittent, sometimes constant.  

Landscape south of Fort Buoux
We ate lunch on the banks of a small river in the woods, then continued south, with a long descent, classic French switchbacks and sweeping views in front of us. The day's next stop would be Abbay de Silvacaine.

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